EU: Adrian Estasy ERKC round two summary

So Close, But So Far-- For the second round in succession, Adrian Estasy demonstrated he had the pace to challenge for the win at a round of the European Rotax Karting Championship. And for the second round in succession, a hit from behind in...

So Close, But So Far--

For the second round in succession, Adrian Estasy demonstrated he had the pace to challenge for the win at a round of the European Rotax Karting Championship. And for the second round in succession, a hit from behind in the opening lap removed him from outright contention.

Estasy made a brilliant recovery from the rear of the field to take eighth place at the second round of the European Rotax Championship at Eindhoven, Holland on the weekend. It was another example of pure speed from Estasy as he played catch-up for the entire 22 laps after he re-joined the circuit at the tail of the field after being pushed off in the very first corner.

Having been one of the fastest drivers in opening practice on Thursday, the promise soon turned to frustration as the team suffered an engine problem that robbed them of valuable track and setup time. The problem was not totally rectified until Friday prior to qualifying, but despite the lack of miles, Estasy posted the ninth fastest time, 46.393s.

A number of local drivers used their knowledge of the circuit's grip characteristics and posted their quick times at the very end. In fact, Mike Joossens waited until the dying moments of the session before venturing onto the track, then set a blistering pace (45.821s) to take pole by over three tenths.

The opening heat was a good one for the 22-year old Sydneysider, moving up to fifth place. Heat two was chaotic, several karts damaged in numerous collisions and the race red-flagged with two laps remaining. Adrian was one of many who did not finish, bending his steering in a crash with Joossens and classified 33rd.

After repairs to the kart, heat three was another strong one for Adrian, the Xtreme Racegear/Arrow driver holding down third for a time before being shuffled back to fourth at the end. The net result of the heats was grid 11 for the pre-final.

Unlike the other front runners, the Arrow team decided not to fit their second set of tyres to Estasy's kart for the pre-final, preferring to save them for the all-important 22 lap final later in the day. Despite this, Adrian still clocked fastest lap of the race on his way to fourth place. With fresh tyres still to be bolted on, everything was looking good for the final and the Arrow team could see that, with Japan's Takao Matsuya taking second, a one-two result was not an unrealistic hope.

But then the rain fell.

Estasy had been quick in the dry and Matsuya was the one to catch in the wet, the Japanese veteran renowned for his wet-weather technique. While Takao drove off into an unassailable lead, all hell broke loose behind as the karts funnelled into turn one. Estasy was hit from behind and spun off the track with several others, including pole sitter Tristram Oman. Both rejoined towards the back of the field, Adrian making a strong recovery to eighth. Oman, the Championship leader going into the race, was classified 15th.

Matsuya (Arrow) won the race ahead of Switzerland's Ken Allemann and Holland's Dick Freebird.

Round three of the Championship will be held in Austria on July 31-August 1 with the fourth and final event in Portugal on September 22-24.

-trm-

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